X Factor 2011: Week 1 Update – Are we in for any Sunday shockers?

The big twist may make for tense viewing on Sunday night, but we reckon it rendered the first live show curiously unrevealing from a punting perspective. The tools we would usually use to analyse the show suddenly felt much less reliable.

Take the running order. In six out of seven series, the first act in the first show has ended up in the singoff. But with no public vote, can anything be read into the fact that Amelia Lily was the first act to perform? It’s hard to say with any confidence.

We surely can, however, read something into the fact that the first thing viewers turning over from Strictly at 8.05pm will have seen was Frankie Cocozza being screamed at by girls, and that the last two acts to perform were Kitty and Janet.

In fact, these three are the only ones who would absolutely astonish us if sent home. As for the rest, we are not at all sure that it’s as cut-and-dried as the markets – with heavily odds-on favourites in three categories, and a two-horse race in the other – would lead us to believe.

Usually in the live shows we need to dissect judges’ comments for what they suggest about whether an act’s supporters may be enthused to pick up the phones, or if they may get a sympathy boost. Instead, we had to try to parse what the mentors said for clues as to their (or producers’) intentions.

But the more we tried to do so during the show, the less we felt on solid ground. We have to bear in mind that (a) this show isn’t stupid, (b) the judges will not make their comments entirely off the cuff, and (c) what would be the point in setting up a suspenseful Sunday twist if you’re going to make it boringly predictable from what was said on Saturday?

After all, it would be all too easy for negatives from Saturday to be spun into positives on Sunday, and vice versa:

  • “You did brilliantly last night, but I still have doubts about whether you could cope with different styles of song”;
  • “I have to say, you disappointed me last night. But I know you can do better. You deserve a second chance”; maybe even
  • “In hindsight, I may have chosen the wrong song for you, and it wouldn’t be fair to send you home because of my mistake.”

Despite the dramatic shifts in odds, we are therefore not convinced that we are much the wiser after tonight’s show than we were before it about what is in store for the Sunday cull. Things are now, of course, looking pretty bleak for Jonjo, James and (alas) 2 Shoes. But it would be a brave punter to pile in at odds-on in the certainty that we’re not seeing a double-bluff in at least one of these categories.

For instance, Gary promises to walk off the show if Louis sends home Sami. Do we really conclude from this that there is no chance at all of this happening? Doesn’t it sound like just the kind of juicy controversy that producers would love to see dominating the Monday morning red-tops?

We’re not saying get on Sami at 20 on Betfair. But we are certainly saying that we wouldn’t like to be laying Sami at 20 on Betfair.

The fact that Gary made a point of slagging off 2 Shoes and questioning Tulisa’s relationship with them likewise gives us some cause for hope. Nu Vibe now look like the obvious alterantives for the chop after a storming performance from The Risk, the one act we’d had a small wager on in the category elimination markets before the show.

In short, we are glad that we kept our stakes very small on that bet on The Risk, and we are not now planning to get further involved in these elimination markets before the Sunday show. It’s just too hard to tell if we’re being set up for any Sunday shockers.

Are you feeling more confident in your ability to interpret what we saw? Do please share your impressions and theories below.

22 comments to X Factor 2011: Week 1 Update – Are we in for any Sunday shockers?

  • Simon "le chat"

    It’s all up in the air after these performances.

    GROUP
    Easy. NU VIBE have to go. They were rubbish and RYTHYMIX were quite good. 2 Shoes were ok and THE RISK were fab. NU VIBE out 7/2

    BOYS
    MARCUS very solid, CRAIG also which means its between FRANKIE and JAMES MICHAEL.
    I’ll take a chance here- FRANKIE to go- he cant sing, his range is poor and as an act he is limited. Good odds for him to go too.

    GIRLS
    AMELIA was incredible, MISHA was too. JANET is the teachers pet (Although I think everyone will get fed up of her yodeling but not yet) so with regret it is SOPIE going. Bookies think so too

    OVERS
    JONJO was rubbish and wooden, KITTY was most watchable, its between JONNY ROBINSON and SAMI. I’ll plump for Robinson, he cannot sing and is a bit of a joke in a serious singing contest.

    JONNY 7/1 (cos JONJO is 1/7- far too short)
    FRANKIE 16/1 (better value than James Michael)
    NU VIBE 7/2
    SOPHI 4/7

    Anyone else any thoughts?
    My last comment is the capacity of this show to produce surprises so I think anything could happen tomorrow – even Frnakie going out.

  • Boki

    I’m learning how to interpret everything on this show so this article is not really conforting me (although thanks for writing it to put me back on ground) 🙂

    Having said that, Jonjo has to be doomed because he was so poor and I still think Amelia is the shocker exit. Last but not least, I’m happy we all hope Tulisa’s Little Muffins are candidates iso Risk.

  • Sydney

    Jonjo and James are surely toast. I suspect Nu Vibe will go and a sneaky feeling that Amelia might, too. In the strongest category Sophie was very good. Will have a few speculative quid on Ms Lily going but agree Andrew that an awful lot is up in the air.

  • Matt

    I placed small bets over 5 of them in 3 categories and if I’m right following the show will lose a little but hey ho.

    Boys – James will surely go. Gary seems to want to keep Frankie, Marcus was solid if dull and Craig, despite pulling weird faces, can sing so will stay for now (not sure he will last beyond half way personally, he doesn’t come across as especially likeable).

    Girls – I thought Amelia was the poorest act (despite betting Sophie). Notable that she was the only one of the girls to get a song that isn’t, at least somewhat, contemporary. Misha B was a suprise and wonder if producers are going for her, not her comments re representing the UK in the pre song VT, singing in front of the Union Flag and at least one of the judges referencing the UK too (i.e., to my mind, and sadly, although she’s black she’s British). She also had the best of the elaborate production numbers by far.

    Groups – Bloody Nu Vibe! They were nowhere near as good as The Risk and had a much poorer choice of song (basically a shouty dance track whereas The Risk got the wonderful Plan B). 2 Shoes seemed to get good VT so am tempted to say they’ll stay (I hope!) and Rhythmix (or whatever) got good comments so Nu Vibe to go for me. I think this is the whittling of the boy bands to one and despite seeming much better in judges houses Nu Vibe have been scuttled.

    Overs – Well, it’s Jonjo to go isn’t it? Louis will keep Johnny for amusement value, Kitty couldn’t go ‘cos she’s the crazy for this series and Sami sang well.

    Notable for me the change in song style already this year. So many dancy tracks which don’t really allow contestants to show off what they can do vocally. A change by the judges, producers or both, will it continue? I suspect not as it might seriously deplete audience figures and voting, but who knows?

    Also notable was the lack of VT relating to families and personal stories for all but the smallest handful of contestants. Perhaps because the public aren’t voting this week, but interesting at this stage in any case.

  • Boki

    Just for my understanding, do contestants have any freedom in a song choice or not ?

    • Andrew

      Hi Boki – murky question. I think we’re to believe that it’s the mentors who choose, but sometimes the mentors make a point of saying the act wanted to sing the song, and sometimes the acts VT about being unhappy with the song choice. Producers must have a big say, too, one would assume (if only to ensure a balance of songs across the show).

  • EM

    Dicey dicey betting market.

    The Betfair favourites to go are pretty much led by the performances tonight 2 Shoes, Jonjo, Sophie and James.

    I understand this is new territory but I’ve taken a couple of punts based on two planks of very sound Betfair thinking. Controversy and Plan A

    1. Lay 2 Shoes. Sets up a nice Gary vs Tulisa argument, maybe even winning Gary over later in the series to keep the very current Essex vibe in the show.

    2. Sami to go. Again lays the path for a good tabloid story. Gary walks, Gary returns for the sake of his acts. Plus Sami obviously was never Plan A as she should have gone at judges houses, it’s pure karaoke and she just won’t win. Decent odds on this currently.

    Lets see how it goes.

    • Andrew

      Must admit, Euan, that despite saying otherwise in the article I’ve since been unable to resist having a bit on Sami to go – the odds are just too tempting. It would nicely set up a new Gary-Louis axis of pantomime rivalry, and the great thing is that Louis could simply shrug and say “I’m sticking to my original choices, why is everyone so shocked?”

  • alexkerr49

    Overs – Jonjo to go (Johnny got to be new Jedward, althogh more likeable and how ridiculous can we make him look this week king of act)

    Girls – Amelia to go (She was out of tune on most of the top notes and Sophie I thought had most original performances of the night)

    Boys – James (Has to be) He didn’t even play that guitar – should have made more of it and he was out of tune in places). It was all building up to this ‘he needs his guitar’ and made us (and me) believe that he was going to be amazing with it and alas, he wasn’t.

    Groups – Difficult. Could be 2 shoes, NuVibe or rhythmix. Why save rhythmix if noone going to vote (which surely on past experience nobody will) Nuvibe and 2 shoes both on par with worst performances in that group

    Had small wager on Rhythmix to go out – still might,

    Craig MUCH better than I thought he would be so prob lost on that one

  • Jack

    Hmm… Based on the night’s performances, it will be Johnny, Nu Vibe, James and Amelia. However,

    Sophie impressed me tonight; she was better than Amelia. But Amelia got a bad song choice, so I think that Sophie will go. Janet and Misha must be safe.

    James didn’t take his chance and producers will have little interest in keeping him. Marcus was good enough, Craig was excellent and the producers won’t axe their “little popstar” – James to go.

    The Risk far exceeded my expectations, I think Charlie and Derry could be a better combo than I thought they would. Nu Vibe were disappointing, 2 Shoes weren’t great and Rhythmix were competent enough. I think they will give Tulisa one boyband and get rid of Nu Vibe who just didn’t live up to expectations.

    Kitty wasn’t amazing, but she’ll be kept regardless. I think producers will be persuaded in keeping Sami after her performance (She was one of the best and the backlash could be huge if Johnny survives ahead of her). They struck gold with Jonjo’s poor performance and I think that they will justify keeping Johnny (Who was just awful) in with talk about Jonjo choking.

    So, Sophie, James, Nu Vibe and Jonjo for me.

  • tpfkar

    I was going to write a long comment, but I agree consistently with Matt above.

    My notes:
    1. they are going big on Misha B, even having to note how British she is. But why are they ditching her surname when it’s the most conventionally British thing about her?
    2. I think they are setting 2 Shoes up to be a talking point, going big on the pregnancy, and setting up Gary vs Tulisa arguments.
    3.They dumped on Nu Vibe even before they started singing, about how they disagreed. That’s poison for an X Factor group.
    4. The Risk were superb. I’d written them off beforehand. Oops.
    5. The acts with upbeat songs came across much less well than those with slower. Thumping background noise drowned out some of the more upbeat acts. Marcus, Amelia, Misha all affected.

    I’ve put a small amount on NuVibe being first group out.

  • Oli

    Really difficult to predict I think, the performances surprised me.

    People like Craig, Misha, The Risk and Sami did excellently whilst the favourites like Janet, Marcus, Kitty and Amelia were underwhelming.

    So for the boys I’m expecting James to go unfortunately, in a just world it would be Frankie but I don’t think there is any chance of that. I thought it was interesting that they showed Marcus was gay in his VT and showed negative headlines, is that good or bad in the long run? I can’t think of many out X factor contestants.

    Girls, I would like to see Janet go but it won’t happen. I think it’s between Sophie and Amelia and I can’t call it. Sophie performed better than Amelia and if there looking for headlines Amelia going would get them.

    Groups, Lots of people are saying 2 shoes but I’d be quite surprised, Tulisa seems to love them, I thought they were competent and there was so much good will to her pregancancy (The VT, Dermot touching the bump!). I think Nu Vibe are in danger there performance was uselss probably only better than Jonjo. Also there’s unrest between them.

    Overs, Surely it’s Jonjo, he was useless.

  • malcolm

    Amelia to go, nothing at was said about her singing, whereas Sophie was praised by all. Wonder if Sophie is now set up for a wonderful X factor ‘journey’ ?
    In the Xtra Factor Tulisa as much as said that she was concentrating on the Risk, so i think they are very safe. I think 2 Shoes will go as i think thats why they set up this whole judges elimination week thing, to make sure they didn’t progress.
    Craig Colton for me was the best of the night, great song choice.
    Jonjo really looked like he was being set up to go, looks like he will have to now or louie will be two down after 2nd show.

  • Andrew

    Very encouraged to see that so many of you are optimistic about 2 Shoes!

    Not sure we can read much into the apparent positivity towards the pregnancy – if the show’s private intention is to ditch them for that reason, they would hardly want it to be obvious. But the fact that Gary picked a fight with Tulisa over them is definitely a sign of promise – surely that’s a better storyline for the show to run with than the Nu Vibe infighting?

  • mark

    amelia lilly at 6-4 is a great bet to go kelly rowland face showed it al when sophie habbis sang the producers wont be botherd who goes between the 2 so kelly will be free to choose and she,ll ditch ameila lump on i a am be lucky

  • Giles

    I think Amelia will be off tonight along with Jonjo, James Michael and 2 shoes. Going first was always going to be bad news for Amelia – i know its no public vote, but starting a show of 16people will mean she was forgettable and no one will be that bothered when kelly chucks her out. i can’t work out what target demographic she is meant to appeal to, as janet does the cute stuff, i dont know how they can market Amelia. i thought Sophie was impressive, my dark horse for the series and i think they have all alluded to the journey which she will go on, and Misha cant really be eliminated after doing well last night. amelia seems quite an easy “shock” elimination to generate headlines but no one is actually going to be that bothered. i felt jonjo got stitched up, it wasnt particularly good and gary mauled him afterwards. i cant see louis keeping him. jonny robinson would be the only other who could go- but i think they will save him for comedic purposes.
    and then james michael got equally stitched up- i think that is quite cut and dried especially with his lack of air time.
    and then 2 shoes for me- so much effort has been put into the formulated bands, and i think the pregancy will just give the producers a headache. they are a nice novelty act, but i think we can have other novelty from jonny and kitty that we dont need them as well.

  • Simon "le chat"

    I’ve just watched the acts again on Youtube.
    Marcus was very slick – I know I have favoured him from the beginning but he really was. You could swop the groups songs around and they would displace oneanother at the ehad of the first group to go. It has to be Nuvibe.
    Jonny is really dreadful – I think he will go because the camp followers have Kitty to vote for.

    Franky is not a good singer – he has a small range and no falsetto and sings in long breathy pants and that’s it. I believe he is in real danger together with James who didnt play more than a couple of chords on the guitar.

    Misha was fabulous, Janet was very good in her yodelling way, Sophie was boring and should go but it might just be Amelia who has great stage presence for a young kid but was out of tune on the top notes.

    Big shock of the evening?
    Either Frankie, Amelia or Sammy go.

  • miskynoodle

    sorry to say and to late now but james was hung out to dry by gary/producers,he had no choice over the song so can t understand how craig was able to choose his song,the whole show is a total fix so unless you have inside information your money is safer on the stock market!!!probably wrong page to rant but i m serious!!!

    • Andrew

      It’s the right place to rant, Misky! 🙂 Trying to figure out when acts are being hung out to dry is very much what we’ll be trying to do over the next nine weeks – and we’re looking forward to being back on the more familiar territory of the public vote.

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